Premier League duo to make moves for Mathieu Valbuena
QPR, 9/2 for a top ten finish, are vying with Premier League rivals West Ham for the signature of French World Cup star Mathieu Valbuena.
New Marseille boss Marcelo Bielsa has reportedly accepted defeat in his efforts to keep the midfield maestro at the Stade Velodrome, with Valbuena seemingly keen on a move to the Premier League.
The 29-year-old has apparently already rejected a move to Russia with Dynamo Moscow, leaving the Hammers and Hoops to duel for his services.
Marseille are rumoured to be requesting a fee of around £6.5m for versatile Valbuena, who can be deployed on either wing, or as a central attacking midfielder.
Bruges-born Valbuena has been capped 37 times for his nation, and was a regular in Didier Deschamps’ starting XI in Brazil, starring in four out of five games before France were eliminated by eventual winners Germany.
After eight seasons of service at the Stade Velodrome, making 227 league appearances and netting 25 times, the talented playmaker may understandably want to test his talents in another top flight league.
It may be now or never for Valbuena, who shone out wide for Les Bleus in Brazil, attracting attention across Europe, but still has another three years left on his contract with Marseille.
QPR may feel they have an advantage in negotiations, after previously dealing with the French club when they signed Loic Remy in 2012. Valbuena’s compatriot was close to a move to Premier League giants Liverpool, but the transfer was scrapped at the last minute.
Harry Redknapp’s side, who are odds-on at 4/11 to stay up, now face the tantalising prospect of keeping hold of Remy, who netted 14 times on loan to Newcastle United last season, and reuniting him with his former Marseille clubmate.
Valbuena, who provided six league assists last term, would certainly be tasked with feeding his fellow Frenchman if a move to Loftus Road materialises, as Redknapp seeks to add further attacking talent to his squad.
After acquiring centre back duo Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker, the QPR boss’ attention has turned to his lack of options in offence.
Mercurial attacking midfielder Adel Taraabt appears close to a Loftus Road exit, meaning experienced Valbuena would be a significant coup for the recently promoted west London club.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, meanwhile, is also keen to poach the playmaker, which could signal the end of Ravel Morrison’s time at Upton Park.
Allardyce has had a productive transfer window already, snapping up five players, including forwards Mauro Zarate and Enner Valencia, with a loan deal for Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson also rumoured to be near completion.